Unions will be held accountable for damages during eThekwini strike – premier

2019-05-03 16:50
Images have been making the rounds in Durban as the municipal workers' strike intensifies. (Supplied)

Images have been making the rounds in Durban as the municipal workers' strike intensifies. (Supplied)

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Striking eThekwini Metro workers who illegally used municipal vehicles and caused damages would be held accountable, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu said on Friday.

"In terms of protests, we are beginning to quantify what unions are liable for. Our task is to ensure that they are held to account for any damage to property. If the municipality has incurred costs as a result of this strike, it must be quantified, and the bill must go to them."

Mchunu was speaking at the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) offices in Durban during a media briefing on the strike.

"Any unprotected strike opens you up to civil claim. We don't want a repeat of this thing. People cannot just wake up and embark on an illegal strike. There are laws that they are well aware of."

Mchunu said authorities had made 31 arrests, with charges varying from attempted murder, public violence, road traffic infringements, illegal use of council vehicles and damage to business property. 

"We want to send a clear message that, while the right to engage in any industrial action is a right enshrined in the Constitution, anarchy and lawlessness will not be tolerated. In fact, this undermines the purpose of the actual points of disagreement currently being negotiated."

Going forward

Mchunu said, that going forward, the municipality had begun tracking access to vehicles so protesters could not use them.

"Whoever has access to a vehicle will be known. They have to state the reason for taking the vehicle and it will be tracked. The City is now geared up for that."

He added that a government intervention task team led by Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube were working on the ground to ensure stability.

Mchunu said there would now be "consequence management on how the decisions that led to this crisis were implemented".

The workers have claimed the municipality recently hired members of the MK Veterans on a higher wage scale. They have called for their salaries to be upgraded to the same level.

Read more on:    durban  |  protests
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